Tuesday, April 15, 2014
BLOG TOUR (Review, Interview & Excerpt): "Earthbound Angels 2: Raising Chaos" by Elizabeth Corrigan
Excerpt from Raising Chaos:
Bedlam – Monday, 12 a.m. GMT
I bopped my head in time with Billy Idol dancing with himself as the song pealed from the juke box. I’d picked the track in hopes that Khet would take the hint and dance with me, but it didn’t work. Before the song was half over, I got tired of waiting and bopped over to the counter, where she was poring over a triplicate form.
“Khet, put the money stuff away and come dance! You’ll still have trillions of dollars even after you subtract whatever you lost on this money pit this week.”
I didn’t mean to insult the diner. Well, I kind of did. The diner was a money pit, but still, I loved it. My attachment had no rational explanation. I mean, what I generously referred to as a restaurant was a lackluster eatery in a crappy part of a city—Philadelphia—that might once have been a pearl of American society, but now was more a flawed cubic zirconium of people
obsessed with sports teams that had seen better days. Yellow foam stuck out from between the cracks in the teal vinyl benches, looking like some kind of bulbous mold, and the silver tables always had some kind of film on them. The air smelled of slightly rancid grease and too-strong coffee that had been sitting in the pot since Khet brewed it yesterday morning. And as for the
food… Well, Khet had a habit of hiring cooks who’d never even seen a griddle before they started employment.
But the thing was, the diner was Khet’s. She had never owned anything like it, not in the three thousand years I’d known her, until a few decades ago. And if it belonged to her, it belonged to me too, because she had figured out a long time ago that life was easier if she let me do what I wanted. So this was more than a diner of hers and mine. It was our home. I expected her to give me one of her usual responses about how she was “being the responsible one” and paying the bills so the gas didn’t get shut off, but she remained silent.
“Khet?” I waved my hand in front of her face. “Are you listening to me?”
Her brown eyes met mine, and I wondered if she could read anything in their demon-black depths. Not that she had to. She was the all-powerful Oracle who could read my mind. And also the inspiration for the Biblical myth of Cain, though in a bizarre way that led to her
accidentally destroying a town rather than murdering a brother.
“I’m sorry, Bedlam,” she said. “Did you say something?”
I swiped the piece of paper out from under her pen and beheld what appeared to be a shopping list written in cuneiform. “What in Mephistopheles’s tomb is this?”
She tilted her head to the side. “Mephistopheles has a tomb?”
I waved my hand. “Tombs, archives, sepulchers. Same difference.”
“I don’t think—”
“Not the point.” I sat down on the stool facing her. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” She smiled as she spoke. Someone who didn’t know her that well might have bought it, but not me.
“Wait, so something’s wrong, and you won’t tell me what?”
That could be one of two things.
No, one of one thing. I’m the one that never wants to talk about a certain brown-haired I had this epic love tragedy going with Keziel, the angel of balance. To make a long story not quite as long, Kezi created the world with some help from me and Jophiel, the angel of service, and when we were done, she granted us each any boon within her power. Since I had fallen in love with her, the only thing I wanted was to stay with her forever, but Jophiel beat me to the punch. He made her promise to marry him and serve with him forever. And since angels can’t fall out of love, I was doomed to be unhappy without her forever. And she still owes me that boon.
But Kezi hadn’t been around. I could tell. I could always tell. Which meant Khet’s problem had to concern the angel of joy, Gabriel.
I liked Gabriel. Everyone did. He had some kind of magic angel power that made everyone adore him. Even Lilith never had a bad word to say about him, and she hated all men on principle. But for someone who got along with everyone, Gabriel could be extremely clueless about other people’s emotions. More oblivious than me, and I had once given Khet a dead
puppy. Long story short, no inside joke can survive the giving of a long-deceased canine, and I probably should have known that beforehand.
Khet was in love with Gabriel and had been since she’d met him two thousand years ago.
It made sense. She could peer inside people’s heads and uncover their deepest secrets and desires. And Gabriel saw the world as a place full of joy and life and people trying to do good things. He had sought out Khet because he had faced concrete evidence that the world did not adhere to his sunshiny ideals. So he spent two thousand years helping people in the worst
situations he could find as if his own ideals could somehow diffuse through the population, like a
celestial air freshener.
Then Keziel lured him back under Michael’s thumb by telling Gabriel that Heaven needed his help to restore the balance of the universe. And Khet surprised me by seeming okay about it, but humans are bizarre about love. Angels had romance easy. We met someone, fell in love, and got stuck that way. The connection didn’t change or get replaced by loving someone else. Other emotions could be added to it, like deep and abiding resentment and a constant desire to rip the beating heart out of her chest. But the love remained too.
But humans fell in and out of love all the time. They could love more than one person at the same time. So Khet seemed to get over Gabriel quickly, but if she had taken a year or ten years or a hundred years to get over it, it would have seemed fast. This whole time she might have pretended to be over it, and she had entered some new phase in the human getting-over-
love process. Maybe it went tears, denial, weird silence, and then… Well, I don’t know what
would come next.
Regardless, taciturnity and distractedness and cuneiform were not signs of a good phase for a number of reasons, not the least of which was having to explain to the people who supplied the diner with truckloads of food why the orders could only be processed by someone with fluency in a long dead script.
I placed the paper down. “Khet, I know there’s something wrong. You have that little up-and-down line between your eyebrows. And it’s been at least three days since you made me go on a historic tour of some brick building whose architectural style was unimpressive when it was built and remains so.”
“Bedlam, you know you don’t have to go with me if you don’t want to.” Anyone else would have snapped those words at me, but not Khet. She saw my decision to accompany her on lackluster adventures as something she needed to atone for.
I gave an exaggerated sigh. “That’s not what I meant. As you may or may not recall, I am perfectly capable of acting on my feelings when necessary. I was wondering what caused the change in activity.” I looked more closely at the paper I had set down. “Also, I don’t think that your suppliers are going to bring you three whole goats and a hundred barley cakes.”
Because someone’s going to have to eat the barley cakes, and you know it’s going to be." Please, dear God, anything but that.
I sometimes wondered if everyone else had conversations in their head. I thought about
asking Khet, but I didn’t want to add her answer to the mounting evidence against my sanity.
Khet frowned and squinted at the symbols on the form. “You’re probably right.” She slid the paper over to herself and crossed out the last three lines. “Do you think barley paste would go over better with the clientele?”
Ha! The mere existence of barley paste is a nuclear attack on the human taste bud. Even I think so, and I’ll eat anything.
Oh, no. She’s trying to distract you with humor. You promised you weren’t going to let her do that anymore.
The scars on her face—and probably the rest of her—from her encounter with the Beast a couple of months ago had finally faded, thanks to some rapid healing, but for most of the last several weeks they had served as a reminder to both of us that for all her immortality, Khet could still be harmed and could not always be counted on to take care of herself. Case in point: Last time I left her to herself, she ran off to Hell to sell her soul to the archdemon Azrael, demon of
love and lust. Lucifer had forbidden Azrael from collecting on that deal, but Khet still bore the
demon mark on her hand.
I shaped my features into what I hoped was a stern look. “Attempts to distract me will not work. I am going to stand here and play irritating music until you tell me what’s wrong.”
Ooh! What was that song you played all the time when you were supporting Ohio State?
Ha! She still grinds her teeth every time she hears “Hang On Sloopy.”
But that didn’t mean she was going to tell me. “There isn’t anything wrong.”
I raised my hand, making a show of considering which of her least favorite songs I would select to assail our ears. (FYI, I would have picked “The Safety Dance.” For some reason beyond me, she hated it.)
She shook her head. “Fine. It’s nothing big. I’m thinking it might be time for a change of scenery.”
I brightened. Only Khet could make something as exciting as a vacation seem dreary as barley. “Ooh, where do you want to go? I support anywhere with beaches. Or ski slopes. Or earthquakes.” I clapped my hands. “Or it’s college football season soon! We could go on tour!”
Her black brows creased over her brown eyes. “Bedlam, if you think I am going to set foot again anywhere near Columbus, OH, with you in any year that begins with a two, you are sadly mistaken.”
I expected her to discuss her location preferences, but instead the silence lasted so long that I felt lost.
My mind leapt to my biggest insecurity. “Do you…do you not want me to come with you?"
“Bedlam, have I ever not wanted you to come with me anywhere? Other than to the bathroom, and we’ve discussed that.” The slight irritation in her voice assured me more than anything else that she wasn’t trying to get rid of me.
And she was right, of course. She’d never sought my absence, not once in thirty-two hundred years, but I figured she would in time.
“Then what is it?” I hoped I sounded less whiny to her ears than it did in my head. “I can’t see why you would be upset about a trip. Unless you were, like, going on a trip to some theme park that made you pretend you were in a Puritanical society where they, like, whip you
for wearing color or showing your ankles or thinking about anything that’s not the Bible. Because I probably wouldn’t be okay with that. You know how places like that always accuse you of being a witch, and you get put in the stocks for looking at Goody Threadwell’s cow and curdling its milk. But I’m pretty sure that a place like that doesn’t exist, because if it did, no one
would make any money off it because no one wants to be punished on their vacation. Well, some people, but we won’t discuss that. Plus, there probably would have been an article in the paper, though I guess I could have missed it since it’s not as if I read the Inquirer every day—”
“Bedlam!” Khet interrupted my train of thought—which, now that I thought about it, might have been kind of ranty. “I have no intention of taking a trip to Puritan Land, if and should such a place ever exist. And if I did win tickets for two, I certainly would not expect you to come with me.”
I bounced on my toes as the juke box changed songs, and Madonna began singing “Into the Groove.”
“Then what are you upset about? Come dance, and we can talk about where you want to go.”
She put down her pencil, and I took that as surrender. “I told you, I’m not upset.” She twirled around the counter and grabbed my tanned hand in her dusky one. “But I will dance if that is the only way to convince you.”
Khet and I were the most awesome of dancers. We’d been practicing for about forty times the average human lifespan, and we’d had the same partner since the concept of dance partners. I kept telling Khet she had to find some way to become famous so that we could go on that celebrity dancing show. She said that it would be a bit extreme to go through all the hassle of famous to win a competition. And she would know; she’d been famous. The best I’d ever been was infamous—had a mental institution named after me, that sort of thing.
After an hour of spinning her around the diner, I’d convinced myself that I had overreacted to the cuneiform. She was smiling as she collapsed breathlessly into one of the cracked foam benches and declared that she needed to stop and fill out the order form if we expected to eat anything next week. As a demon I didn’t need to eat, but now that humans could
make a variety of non-barley foodstuffs, cooking was fun. You could come up with infinite combinations of flavors that could complement each other in all different ways. Plus, if I stayed in human form for more than a few hours, I got hungry.
While Khet pulled out a new order form and began to fill it out, I went up the stairs to engage in another unnecessary-to-me human habit. Sleeping was even more fun than eating. An unconscious brain could “dream up” with the most random situations, and even I, who was no slouch when it came to the absurd, could only sit back and admire.
In the middle of a particularly fascinating dream that involved the optimal way to cook a kiwi bird (frying had my vote, though I couldn’t deny the advantage of barbecuing), Khet woke me up to tell me that I was hogging the bed and muttering about “kiwi on the barbie.”
I shifted to make space for her, and mumbled something about her needing to get a California King, but I didn’t mean it. Khet and I didn’t have a romantic or sexual relationship.
She wasn’t Keziel, and I was incapable of thinking of anyone else in those terms. But despite my involuntary faithfulness, and my penchant for annoying everyone I met, I hated to be alone. And
in those few uncertain moments when I first woke up, I liked to have someone close to me. I wasn’t sure why Khet indulged me in this, but even when we had lived in larger quarters, she never made me stay in my own room.
She climbed into the bed next to me. “Love you,” she whispered to me as she did every night, never seeming to mind that I couldn’t respond in kind.
I wrapped my arm around her head and drifted back to sleep.
My Review of Raising Chaos:
In Elizabeth Corrigan's Raising Chaos (the sequel to The Oracle of Philadelphia), we find Khet (Cassie, Cassia, Cain, Caela, etc.), Bedlam and the whole host of Heaven and Hell about to pay for what Khet did at the end of Oracle.
Azrael, the archdemon Khet had Lucifer put away in the Abyss, is back, thanks to the help of Mephistopolies, and she's vowed revenge against Khet.
She's going to find the Spear of Destiny, the blade that pierced Christ at the Crucifixion and is the only thing that can kill the immortal Oracle.
But Bedlam is on a quest to get to it first and save his best friend who has no idea what's happening. But can a visit from his true love Keziel throw everything off-course when the angel Siren gets word of the plan?
Khet, meanwhile, is in Coventry, trying to make another new life for herself, but will her efforts to help actually hurt others instead?
Let me say this: I LOVED this book! I read slowly on ereaders for some reason, and I got through this book in two days. The characters are not just characters, they become your friends. Bedlam, especially, is one of the most lovable fictional creations, and he's the angel (well...demon) of chaos!
Siren was a relatable character for me, wanting what's right but feeling like it's not enough and blaming herself for what happened to the nephilim.
This book is a must-read for everyone, as long as you can deal with the fictionalized versions of angels and demons without getting religiously offended.
Ms. Corrigan took real things (yes, I believe in God and angels) and twisted them to her own fantastical whims to make Raising Chaos.
Excellent work. If I could give this a rating higher than 5, I would! It's honestly one ofthe best novels I've read since Stephen King's The Stand! My biggest issue is how can readers possibly wait any extended amount of time for the next book!?
Purchase Raising Chaos via:
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Interview with Elizabeth Corrigan:
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
On some level, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve made up stories in my head, thought it took me awhile to actually start writing them down. I started seriously writing in 2010, when I got hit with a bout of insomnia. I had to fill up all the time I ordinarily spent sleeping with something, and I decided to finally write down one of my stories.
2. What authors inspired you to be a writer and what books do you enjoy today?
Urban fantasy was the genre that most inspired me to make up stories. I read Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Simon R. Green’s Nightside, Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld, and Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampies, and I wanted to write books like those. These days I mostly read young adult paranormal novels, but I find most of the stories I make up still tend to be new adult at the youngest.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The Oracle of Philadelphia?
I got the idea for Oracle after season 2 of the television show Supernatural. The cliffhanger is that one of the characters sells his soul to a demon, so I spent the summer wondering what kind of character he would meet to help him out of it. I came up with this idea of an immortal oracle who operated out of a crappy diner, and I got really fascinated by her as a character. The story as it exists doesn’t bear much resemblance to Supernatural anymore, except for the crappy diner.
4. Why decide to write a sequel to Oracle?
While I was plotting Oracle, I decided Carrie needed to have other immortal friends, and since I already had angels and demons in the story, I gave her one of each. Somewhere along the line, Gabriel and especially Bedlam became crucial to the story, and I decided they deserved books of their own, with book 2 about Bedlam and book 3 about Gabriel.
5. Why choose angels and demons to write about as opposed to other, more conventional supernatural creatures?
I’m not a huge fan of werewolves and shapeshifters, both because of the frequent rampant sexism and the fact that turning into an animal is not all that appealing to me. So on that score, I’ve always been on Team Vampire. I did come up with a vampire story once upon a time, but right now they are kind of overdone. Fae are all right, but their cold and capricious nature doesn’t resonate with me. At the same time, I have a lot of thoughts about the nature of good and evil, and I’ve always enjoyed religious fantasy. So for my first book, I decided to go down that route.
6. Were any of the characters' personalities inspired by real people?
In almost every case, no. The one exception is the angel Siren, who shows up for the first time in Raising Chaos. When I was creating a pantheon of angels, I decided I wanted one who was like me, but in angel form. So I created an angel who never lied and who sang very well (way better than me, really. She’s also much more confrontational than me.) I intended her to be a side character, who was mostly mentioned as someone the other angels didn’t like very much, but then I got really interested in her, and she ended up being a narrator.
7. Will we see a third novel featuring the Oracle characters?
I have to finish writing it, but yes, definitely. I left a lot of things open at the end of Chaos, and it would be cruel not to answer them. Stories tend to grow in my head. I started out with the plan of having Oracle be a standalone novel, but then it grew into three books, then six, then seven. I have ideas for 12 books in the series right now, and I make no promises that will be the end. Of course, I also make no promises that I will actually write all of them.
8. Why did you make angels be unable to fall out of love? Was there a message or symbolism behind it?
It was actually more of a plot device than anything else. I had a Bedlam-esque conversation in my head that went something like this:
Me: You need an explanation of why Carrie and Bedlam aren’t in love with each other, or at least why he isn’t in love with her.
Also Me: I don’t know. Maybe he’s in love with someone else?
Me: You always do this! You always make your characters have these long-standing, eternal loves that are completely unrealistic! He’s been hanging out with Carrie for over three thousand years! He would have gotten over his other love by now.
Also Me: Hm. Well, maybe angels can’t fall out of love.
From there, it developed into a crucial part of the mythology. Toward the end of Chaos, Mephistopheles explains why it makes a lot of sense, given what the angels are and how and when they were created.
9. Would you like to see a movie or television show based on your stories? If yes, who would you like to see play Bedlam, etc.?
I would love to see a movie made of Oracle. I actually think it has a great movie plot because it’s simple with room for lots of special effects. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to my dream cast: Samantha Barks as Carrie, Ian Somerhalder as Bedlam, Chris Hemsworth as Gabriel, Matt Bomer as Michael, P!nk as Siren, Alexis Denisof as Mephistopheles, Tim Curry as Beelzebub, Gina Torres as Lilith, and Kristen Bell as Lethe. I recently had a blogger suggest Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Sebastian, and I’m okay with that. I’m still trying to think of a Lucifer and an Azrael, so if you have any good ideas, let me know.
[Let the record state that I think Manu Bennett would make a great Lucifer and I can see Alaina Huffman as Azrael.--KSR]
10. Where do you see yourself/your career in the next ten years?
My thoughts on this change on a daily basis. In a perfect world, I’d like to keep writing my books and getting them published, while gaining a following of people dying to know what happens next to Carrie and her friends. I’ve also been working on the first book in an unrelated series that I would like to see go somewhere. So, overall, more books and more readers. Other than that, I’m flexible.
11. What are your views on immortality? Would you like to live forever?
I’m not sure. I’ve always said no, but I keep coming up with story ideas about immortal characters. I have three other somewhat fleshed out series ideas that I want to work on, and two of them in some way involve immortality. If I did become immortal, I would want to stop aging quite soonish. And I’d want some reassurance that human society will become progressively more enlightened.
12. Would you like to be able to read minds?
Definitely not! I was just thinking about this the other day, and I realized I would have to listen to what people really think of me. I really, really prefer not to know.
13. Do you have plans to write a non-paranormal novel in the future?
Not really. I do have a perpetual plot idea where a class at their ten-year reunion find out they have to repeat their senior year of high school, but I’ll probably never write it. I don’t have a lot of interest in non-paranormal books. I actually got kind of bored writing Carrie’s normal world stuff in Oracle and Chaos. I do have an idea for a sci-fi novel, which is more tech and aliens than paranormal, if that counts.
14. How did you choose which angels and demons you made the focal points of your novels?
Carrie started out as the focal point of the novels, and I decided to give her an angel and a demon friend, so the story expanded to include them. Bedlam started off as a stereotypical not-so-bad demon character, but he grew into someone who will become a bigger focal point for the novels. Gabriel was always my favorite Biblical angel, so I decided to make him Carrie’s friend. I also had some strong images of Michael, so I needed to throw him into the mix. Siren started off as a side character who pushed her way into the middle. Those five are the most central for a while. Eventually I plan to do more with Bedlam’s ex, Keziel, and there are some new characters waiting in the wings, as well.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
I was born and raised near Scranton, PA, which means when I watch the early episodes of The Office, I can’t help but yell at the screen, “There is no Chile’s in Scranton!” I have eaten at the boat-shaped restaurant with the octopus on top many times, though.
I took ballet lessons for 14 years.
This year, I made myself this cake for my birthday: http://www.bakerita.com/midnight-binge-cake/. It took 3 days (not their entirety), and I broke my mixer, and it was totally worth it.
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